We all know how frustrating it can be to do everything you're supposed to do and yet see nothing change for the better. This can happen in all areas of our lives, but it is perhaps most trying when it comes to our health.
Author Farnaz Afshar knew such frustration. Suffering from a range of physical ailments, she became sicker and sicker and was unable to recover using conventional medicine. The Alchemy of Healing: The Healer Was Always You tells of Afshar's discovery of her self-healing power, documenting her journey from illness to well-being. She shares her own story of healing and offers a collection of thoughts and life lessons to help others experiencing illness.
She has come to the conclusion that the cause of every illness is the same, making it possible for anyone to achieve relief from any illness by applying the same Law of Attraction principles she learnt. Each chapter guides you through your own path to recovery from whatever illness you have.
You can discover your inner strength and self-healing capabilities. The health you desire is in your hands. You, and only you, can really heal yourself!
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Read an Excerpt
THE ALCHEMY OF HEALING
THE HEALER WAS ALWAYS YOU
By FARNAZ AFSHAR
Balboa PressCopyright © 2013 Farnaz Afshar
All rights reserved.
Growing up, I was very lucky to have a loving family, but high school was not easy. I was bullied from age thirteen through to age fifteen for looking different to the other girls in my school. I wasn't blonde or blue-eyed like everyone else, instead I had black hair and olive skin, I wasn't allowed to shave my legs and I ate foreign foods for lunch. I immediately felt different as I began high school, and was a perfect target for bullies from day one. I did have a few friends who did not participate in tormenting me, but most of my class made my life hell on a daily basis for two years. And unfortunately my school (like many other schools) did nothing about the bullying, no matter how concerned my parents were.
I distinctly remember crying in my room on school nights, wishing I didn't have to go to school tomorrow. I remember one night in the midst of sadness thinking I'd rather die than return to that environment. Don't worry, this is not a sympathy request and I am not trying to defame or blame anyone in any way. I am merely setting the scene for explaining where some of my earlier illnesses stemmed from. While two years may not seem long, the daily torments I experienced still haunted me into my twenties.
Within a short period of time, severe acne started developing on my face. My parents initially brushed it off as just being teenage hormones. This was the start of my acne problems. They took me to a doctor who ran tests and concluded I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) that was causing the acne (and unbalanced hormones). She prescribed the contraceptive pill and said it would balance my hormones in six months and I could then stop taking it. We wanted a second opinion and went to see an endocrinologist, who also had no other suggestion than to prescribe the pill. He did not know the cause of PCOS and so concluded it must be genetic (although no one in my family has ever been diagnosed with this syndrome). Any illness that science does not understand well is labelled 'genetic', it seems.
If you're reading this and thinking that acne does not classify as a disease, I can tell you it is a form of skin disease, albeit a common one. And because it is so common, we have learnt to accept it as normal, especially in teenagers. While it is not life-threatening, there are hundreds of millions of people suffering from it, from children to middle-aged adults. And a multi-billion-dollar industry runs off these people's unhappiness. The other issue with acne is that it is an indicator of a bigger internal imbalance we don't often know about, it's not just about vanity.
The Law of what?
At that stage of my life, I knew nothing about the Law of Attraction (LOA) and why I was being bullied in school. I did not understand that I was attracting the mean girls that were making me feel bad because at some level I was not feeling good about myself. And I most certainly did not know that the acne and PCOS were a consequence of my negative emotions and thoughts.
If this is the first time you are hearing about the LOA, it may sound strange that I am taking responsibility for what was happening to me at such a young age. And I can confirm it wasn't until I was in my mid-twenties and had been on this journey of self-discovery that I actually realised that everything we experience in our lives is our own doing.
I was first introduced to the idea that we could influence our reality in high school, around seventeen. I was watching the Oprah show and her guest Dr Phil said something that has stuck with me ever since:
"There is no reality, only perception. What you believe to be true about yourself, you will live."
I thought, wow! How can that be? Is it really possible? So I could change my reality by altering my beliefs? I was blown away by what I had heard. I wanted to know more, and that's how my interest in self-development began. At that stage in my life I didn't see personal growth as anything spiritual; it was more of a way of attaining what I wanted—getting from A to B as quickly as I could. I purchased Dr Phil's book Self Matters and started working towards finding my 'authentic' self. I began reading many other books by others on self-development like Anthony Robbins, Robert Kyosaki, Napoleon Hill, Charles F. Haanel, Wallace Wattles, Dale Carnegie, Donald Trump, Paul Hanna, John Gray, Suze Orman, Shakti Gawain, Anne Hartley, David J. Schwartz, Al Koran, Vivienne James, Lois P. Frankel, James Allen, and the list goes on. But most self-development books are very much focused on having a strategy, setting goals, working hard, stepping outside your comfort zones, getting financial education, building a network of people, increasing your self-confidence, and only helped me get so far.
I can heal my life?
After reading all those self-development books I still didn't know what the recipe for changing my reality was. Not until I came across a book that changed my life. I remember it as though it was yesterday. I was nineteen, depressed and in my first year of university, studying software engineering. I had recently realised software engineering was not what I imagined it to be, but I had studied so hard in school to be accepted into such a competitive degree and the fear of dropping out and being labelled a 'quitter' was too great. I hated my course with a passion, yet being the persistent girl that I was, I decided I'd continue and finish the five years. The resentment I felt for my degree and my insistence to continue it was tearing me up emotionally. I had also recently been hurt by a guy I cared for, so I felt rejected, unloved, hopeless, unworthy and plain stupid. The tension inside me began to show up in constant colds and flu, to the point where my family doctor David (who in retrospect I can see was very wise) told me it was stress related and that I should take some time off university and relax. I didn't listen and decided to follow the very rational path of finishing my degree on time.
I was feeling particularly bad one day, and decided to go for a run around the block thinking it would make me feel better. I began to slow down in front of the local Salvation Army (in Australia these stores sell second-hand goods to raise money for charity). I suddenly felt the urge to walk into the store. Now at nineteen this was the last store I wanted to be seen in. I had only ever donated clothes to them and Mum had volunteered there, but I had never set foot into the shop myself. But for whatever reason I felt compelled to walk in and, like a person under a spell, I walked directly to the corner where a single bookshelf stood. Most of the shelves were empty. There were only about thirty books in total. Without thinking about it, I placed my index finger on the first book spine that took my attention. It was a brightly-coloured book called You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. I pulled it out and read the back cover. I was intrigued by the possibility that if I change my thoughts, my life could be healed. I thought to myself that it was worth a try. I was willing to try anything at that point. I guess that's why they say when you hit rock-bottom, the only way is up. It was priced $2, and while I had no purse with me, there happened to be a $2 coin in the pocket of my running shorts. It's interesting how things worked out that day.
I bought it, read it and applied it diligently. Louise's book was like a breath of fresh air. At this stage I didn't know what to expect, but I hoped for a change. I did have a good habit of recording everything in a journal. So I recorded all the exercises from Louise's book in my journal. After doing all the exercises (which were mostly affirmation-based), I put the book away and went on with my life.
The turning point
Time went by and I forgot about the book. Then six months later I came across my journal and went through it. I came across the exercises from Louise's book and was shocked by my responses from six months previously. I was literally gobsmacked by what I was reading. I couldn't believe that I myself had written those answers. In just six months my expectations of life had raised considerably. I realised that not only had I changed a lot from where I was six months ago, but my life had also changed as a consequence of Louise's teachings. And the proof was in my hands. At that point I learned the importance of documenting your personal progress, because we humans seem to be very forgetful. And while forgetting bad incidents is good, we sometimes forget the good we asked for in the past, which has come about into our lives since.
This day was a turning point in my life. I had solid evidence that it is possible to change your life and your experiences by through positive affirmations. I had gone from having very negative perceptions of relationships (taught to me by my well-meaning mother), to expecting relationships to work out for me. I had gone from seeing no future for myself, to seeing some happiness coming my way. So I began practising the affirmations more from then onwards. And slowly more and more things began to change in my life. But being in my early twenties, all I really wanted to do was finish my degree and start my career. I wanted to be like other girls my age having fun. I didn't want to be writing affirmations every day. It had become a chore. As life started to go well for me (socially and financially) and I became more confident as a young adult, I eventually grew out of this practise. In retrospect I can see I had turned writing affirmations into a task, something I had to do, on top of everything else, which is why it lost its appeal for me. Plus there was no emotion behind the affirmations once they became a daily task on my To Do list, so their effectiveness started to decline.
In part 2, I will explain in detail why thoughts have no power if they are not backed by strong emotion, and the same applies to daily affirmations. At this stage of my life I was still under the impression that modern medicine would heal all illnesses, and I didn't have any concept of emotions leading to disease. I was young and inexperienced, yet life was about to give me a crash-course on illness and recovery.
By this stage I had switched to seeing a second specialist, Ben, who was a professor of endocrinology and with years of research in PCOS. I was hoping he was better than my first specialist and with his wisdom could resolve my hormonal situation and excessive breakouts. He conducted some initial blood tests and continued to prescribe the same pill. I was still breaking out and had also developed hirutism. Because the pill was no longer controlling the breakouts, Ben put me on Spironolactone to help fight the breakouts and reduce excessive hair. So every day I was taking two white pills, the pill from age fifteen and Spironolactone from age nineteen.
Concurrently I was not happy about being on drugs forever. I tried alternative therapies such as remedial shiatsu, energy therapy, Chinese medicine and cupping, and while they felt good at the time of treatment, I didn't see any long-term results. I also tried a few times to go cold turkey, only for my skin to become horrid within a few weeks. So I'd give up and go back on medication.
The wake-up call
In early 2008 I watched a television documentary on the psychological side effects of the pill on women, and how their pheromones were badly manipulated by it. They found women on the pill were more likely to select mates whose genes are not compatible with theirs, and in extreme cases this resulted in deformities in their conceived babies. Apparently this is because of the constant pregnant state induced by the pill. Unknowingly you are drawn to men who may not be genetically compatible because your body thinks it's already pregnant and doesn't need a genetically compatible mate as a priority. In other cases women who had met their mates on the pill, married and then stopped the pill to conceive, would only find they were no longer attracted to their partners. This was a scary wake-up call for me, after being on the pill for almost a decade and having had a history of attracting the wrong type of guys. It was that program coming into my experience accidentally (although there are no accidents) that made me seriously decide to stop the pill. At that stage I did not know my severe anger was also a symptom of the pill. I continued to research the production of synthetic estrogen, the huge $22-billion-a-year industry built around it, and the horrific side effects of this drug on women.
Taking 'action' to heal
So I set out to get off the medication, thinking with the guidance of a doctor it would be easy. I cancelled my bi-annual specialist appointments, and went to see a family doctor. My doctor however did not know enough about the recent research to comment or reassure me. I did my own research and found out it could take up to a year for all traces of the pill to leave your body. I slowly began to rid my body of the medication. First I stopped Spironolactone. It took about six months for it to leave my body, and sure enough my skin started breaking out severely again. Then the pill was stopped and my facial acne became horrific. My skin was so bad (and those who know me know I'm fairly confident) I was embarrassed to leave the house some days. I initially fell for all the glossy ads and purchased all the well-known anti-acne skincare products I could. I also heard IPL kills bacteria in the acne, is skin clearing and also removes excessive hair, so I spent several thousand dollars on that. I even tried prescription creams like Differin hoping that would work, but no luck.
But I was determined to find a solution, so I started reading as much as I could on female hormones. My doctor back in high school who started me on the pill in the first place had convinced me and my parents I had hormonal issues that would be 'easily balanced' by the pill within six months. Ten years later I was still taking twice the medication and not seeing any lasting improvements. At this stage I knew that it's very possible a slight temporary hormonal imbalance back when I was fifteen could have become a self-fulfilling prophecy ten years later. After all Ben, who I was seeing a few times a year and paying huge consultation fees to, had not conducted a blood test to check my hormones for years. All he did was top up my pill bottles each time he saw me.
By that time my desire to find a real solution to my hormonal imbalances and skin breakouts was stronger than ever. I was determined not to give up. Over the next two years I read hundreds of blogs, books, publications, anything I could find on female hormones by people who claimed to have the answers and other women documenting their journeys. What I discovered was terrifying. I found out the hormones fed to women in contraceptive pills are synthetic and some sources said these hormones are sometimes derived from pregnant horses' urine.
This made me wonder why synthetic hormones were being used when naturally-occurring hormones are plentiful in nature. I later discovered that pharmaceutical companies cannot sell naturally-occurring estrogen in their pills. There is no profit in this, as no one can patent a natural substance. So in order to patent their estrogens (and hence profit), the molecular structure of naturally-occurring estrogens is modified. The problem with this practice is that our hormone receptors are designed to respond to natural estrogens. Instead the modified synthetic estrogens, Xenoestrogens, block our hormone receptors and cause havoc in the body by preventing the body from absorbing any natural estrogens available, so much so that it can take at least six months for the remaining Xenoestrogens to leave a female body after stopping the pill. My doctors and specialists had not just stopped my body from producing its own estrogens naturally, but they had blocked my hormone receptors from receiving any natural estrogen that was available in my body.
So from the age of fifteen to twenty-five my trust had been in health professionals who had kept my body in a constant state of induced pregnancy. I then found out women on the pill for long periods of time have been found to have problems conceiving. It just got worse and worse. I went through an extremely angry phase soon after finding out the truth about the medication pharmaceutical companies give doctors to recommend. I was furious that for patent reasons they modify the molecular structure of naturally-occurring estrogen so that it can be sold to women. I was angry with the medical professionals prescribing these dangerous pills to young girls. I was furious that I had been encouraged to turn to pills and harsh toxic acne products that help fuel a multi-billion dollar industry. The greater issue is that the pills and products are not really healing the cause of the acne, but trying to shut down the symptoms.
Excerpted from THE ALCHEMY OF HEALING by FARNAZ AFSHAR. Copyright © 2013 Farnaz Afshar. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
You don't know what you don't know.................... xvii
Part 1: How It All Began.................... 1
Chapter 1: Traumatic Teens.................... 3
Chapter 2: How I Discovered My Path.................... 18
Part 2: Feeling Your Way To Healing.................... 29
Chapter 3: You Are A Walking Magnet.................... 31
Chapter 4: LOA and Health.................... 68
Chapter 5: Your Only Task: Get Happy.................... 74
Chapter 6: The Other Stuff: Medicine, Diet and Lifestyle................... 87
Chapter 7: Where to from here?.................... 103